By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
WFAA's Catholic channel
Buzz is in awe. We know Doug Fox, Channel 8's mustachioed warbler, has worked in this town for a long time. But even we couldn't have guessed that Fox has sources from beyond the grave.
Fox's connections to the dark side surfaced about two weeks ago while he was reporting on the civil trial of a lawsuit filed against the Catholic Diocese of Dallas by victims of child-molesting former priest Rudy Kos. Eleven men sued Kos and the diocese for $146.5 million, claiming the church stood by while Kos used his position to prey on young boys.
Monsignor Robert Rehkemper was on the stand one day when Fox was visited by the voices of four dead Catholics. It seems someone in the audience gave Fox a copy of a letter that has been circulating in Catholic circles since April.
The letter accused Rehkemper of having "no conscience, no credibility, no accountability, and no integrity." On that evening's newscast, Fox quoted from the letter, offering it as testament to the friction within Catholic ranks. "This trial may take a heavy toll," Fox intoned. (Fox, Buzz has noticed, intones better than he reports.)
Fox identified the letter as a "statement from parishioners" of Rehkemper's church. Well, in their past lives, anyway.
The four "parishioners" whose names appear at the bottom of the letter are all dead, according to Bronson Havard, executive editor of the Texas Catholic. One tipoff is the letter's closing salutation--the phrase "The voices of" precedes the four names typed at the bottom of the page.
Apparently, the letter was actually penned by an anonymous disgruntled Catholic, who mailed it to church officials. Copies soon made their way around various parishes. Besides purporting to speak for dead folks, Havard notes, the letter had nothing to do with the Kos trial, but instead sprang from an intra-Catholic squabble over money for parish schools.
So, Fox went to cover a trial about a pedophile priest, and wound up quoting the dead's thoughts on school finance. Maybe Buzz isn't in awe.
While Buzz is on the topic of death, music fans in Dallas might have been bewildered that none of the major local media seemed to notice the passing of legendary bass guitarist and songwriter Ronnie Lane.
Lane, co-founder of a band called the Small Faces, was one of the original British mod rockers. He lived in Texas for almost a decade before moving to Colorado, where he died earlier this month at the age of 51.
Maybe it was past bedtime for the music critics at The Dallas Morning News when word of Lane's death came. Whatever the reason, the paper never reported the fact.
"Heaven is more sarcastic for your presence," the ad read in part. It ended: "Sorry, no photo, your face was too small."
No word yet on when Doug Fox will be interviewing the late Ronnie Lane.